Introvert and extrovert have become major buzzwords over the past few years. It feels as though everyone is identifying with one or the other. But what is the difference?
Shyness is not the same as introversion
The terms actually come from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and contrary to popular belief they don’t relate to being shy or outgoing. As Maggie Georgopoulos says, “Introversion and extroversion is actually to do with where we as individuals prefer to get our energy from. In recent years these words have become interchangeable for being shy or being gregarious.” She is more of an extrovert but calls herself, “the awkward networker as I struggle to come up with conversation.” Her partner on the other hand is more introverted, even though he’s “quite confident in crowds and with strangers and able to strike up conversation easily.” Maggie says there are those that fit the stereotypes but shy does not equal introverted, just as outgoing is not the same as extroverted. Find out more about Maggie on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Here’s a practical example
Let’s explain in a different way. What would an ideal evening look like to an introvert? What about for an extrovert? If they were both to invite friends over for dinner how would these evenings run differently?
For the extrovert it would be a high energy environment. They feel alive in big groups and this would play into how they organise their night. Their perfect dinner would be something like a pizza party on a cluster of bar stools around the kitchen bench. Followed by a casual outdoor lounge setup that allows for open-ended conversation.
An introvert may host the same number of people but they would plan the evening differently. They might start with a low-key dinner party for a less stimulating environment. Introverts typically prefer one-on-one conversations as they require less energy and can chat more in depth. A perfect scenario would be chatting on the sofa with a few remaining close friends.
An easy chart so you won’t forget
If you’re still unsure of the difference Nicole Turnbull from The Successful Introvert provides this great summary:
- recharges by being alone
- prefers to communicate through written word
- prefers inner world
- makes decisions after internal thoughts
- prefers quiet and orderly
- recharges through interaction
- prefers to communicate through speaking
- prefers outer world
- makes decisions after 'think talking' bouncing ideas around
- prefers noise and action
Find more info on Nicole and strategies for introverted success on her Facebook.
Respecting other’s boundaries is an important part of every relationship. A great way to start is to ask yourself what kind of person you’re dealing with - high energy (extrovert) or low energy (introvert) - and bringing your interaction onto that level.